The sun is shining. The birds are singing. The smell of fresh cut grass surrounds the neighborhood, and the heat is so hot that it takes your breath away. Ahhhh. It’s summer, and a perfect day for the pool. EEK. But, it’s a work day, and you have an unending list. It becomes the all too familiar summer vs. work conundrum.
It’s hard enough during the other seasons to stay focused when distractions such as phone calls, social media, texts and interruptions plague us on an hourly basis. Throw summer in the mix, and it’s that much more difficult. For some, it means the kids are home and for others, it may mean more travel or just more project work. Regardless, the distraction of enjoyable weather adds to the complexity of prioritizing and staying focused.
- The Internet
- Social media
- FOMO – Fear of Missing Out
- Vacation Planning, taking and recovering from it.
- Childcare Planning, Issues, Unavailability
- Long lunch breaks
So, before productivity flies out the window with the red convertible driving by with rafts in the back seat, let’s take stock of how we can stay productive during summer and have our play, too.
5 Easy Tips to Stay Focused During the Summer
1) Plan the work. Work the plan. Pick a time of day to plan the following day. The more detailed the plan, the more likely you will follow it. Be sure to include the following:
- Work Priorities – Which tasks must absolutely get done before the end of the day?
- Family Needs – What does the family need – childcare, rides, food, family dinner?
- Personal Needs – Don’t let your workout, healthy eating or doctor’s appointments slip.
2) Prioritize according to energy level. For most people, morning is the most productive time of day. Therefore, the most important tasks that require the most concentration and energy need to be scheduled for morning. Try to check emails after the top 2 or 3 priorities are done.
3) Schedule email and phone calls for certain times of the day. Instantly responding to email and phone calls is not necessarily the most productive approach. This type of response is reactionary and takes us away from our focus. Pick 3 times a day to respond to email and stick to it. You will be surprised at the amount of work you will complete each day.
4) No FOMO for you. Feeling left out because everyone in the world seems to be on vacation? Find a fresh perspective for your workplace. Can you take your office outside? Can you find a nearby window where you can work? Can you take a 5-minute walk around the block? You will feel less left out, and a dose of sunshine and fresh air will help you regain focus.
5) Get time away. Summer flashes by in an instant. Don’t be the one that ends summer without any fun. It will only lead to regrets and dissatisfaction.
It certainly isn’t easy to stay focused and work seems to never end, but don’t let the summer lull you into a state of inaction. With a combination of focus and discipline you can be highly effective at work and still be able to carve out time for fun.